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The time is now to merge Clearwater services

Consolidate and move on

If there was ever a time to actively consider merging, consolidating and outsourcing Clearwater's city services, specifically police, fire and emergency medical services, the time is now. In Pinellas County, the melange of municipalities continues to act as in feudal "lord of the manor" times.

Citizens, also, must relinquish the idea of "our" police department, "our" fire department and "our" traffic department — just a few areas that savings can be made. Heaven knows what city staffs and councils have done to "our" recreation centers and "our" libraries! The brunt of the economic downturn has been shouldered by the taxpayers. The time for innovative and refreshed thinking is now.

The model is there: Beginning in the mid 1980s and continuing today, businesses and enterprises have been merging, consolidating and outsourcing. Sure, there have been miserable failures; on the other hand there have been tremendous savings in economies of scale.

Yes, the process has been a gut-wrenching exercise for terminated employees and for those left at the downsized workplaces as they assume additional tasks and responsibilities. Change is the way of the world.

I encourage City of Clearwater officials to seriously consider the Pinellas sheriff's proposal (to take over law enforcement from the city Police Department).

Paul Koenig, Clearwater

Duck population can be controlled

Florida is experiencing a population boom of Muscovy ducks and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is increasingly called to rescue injured birds or to resolve conflicts, like the one in Dunedin, between those who enjoy the birds and those who view them as a nuisance.

ARFF understands that the current situation has grown out of control and that action must be taken. However, the city of Dunedin's plan (to hire a trapper) to trap and kill more than 60 ducks has prompted a public outcry and places the city in a negative light. Additionally, trapping some of these animals is only a short-term solution. Without an effective plan in place to control the reproduction of the remaining population, it won't be long before the city finds itself in the same situation.

While there is a variety of methods available to prevent Muscovy populations from reaching nuisance numbers, removing newly-laid eggs has proven to be one of the most humane and effective control techniques.

Egg collection is analogous to spaying and neutering in dogs and cats, and ARFF would be more than happy to provide the city with assistance in correctly monitoring nesting locations and removing newly-laid eggs, free of charge. Taking ARFF up on this offer would prevent the remaining population of Muscovy ducks from burgeoning, thereby alleviating many of the problematic issues the city is currently facing.

Holly Jones, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), Fort Lauderdale

Re: She fed birds, landed in jail | story, April 24

Punishment was no fit for 'crime'

I'm writing about the miscarriage of justice in the case of Stella Franzese being arrested for feeding the birds. Where are our liberties? A warning could have been issued if this was causing litter, etc.

The more important part of this story was her being incarcerated. Our society is becoming punitive to the defenseless, as we know so clearly when abortion laws are still on the books.

Please put our judicial services to helping people, not punishing them.

Mary De Mott, Clearwater

Tio Pepe's charm will be missed

We were saddened to hear of Tio Pepe's being sold. We hope that the new owners don't make too many changes from the great menu, service and atmosphere that Pepe's was known for. This has been our favorite local restaurant since it opened in 1976. We first ate there on opening night (Oct. 26, 1976, as we remember it).

Best wishes to Jose ("Pepe") and Jesús in their retirements.

Bob and Marianna Peterson, Clearwater

The time is now to merge Clearwater services 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 5:45pm]
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